Cueva del Viento

Cueva del Sobrado


Useful Information

Location: Icod de los Vinos, Tenerife.
TF-5 Carretera Autovia Variante Norte exit Icod de los Vinos. At roundabout follow TF-362 towards Santa Cruz, at Plaza el Calvario turn right towards Santa barbara, then again turn right to El Amparo. At El Amparo turn left into Camino La Patita, after 1km left at the Camino El Almendro.
Open: Visitor's centre: Tue-Sun 9:30-16.
Cave Tours: 10, 12:30.
Booking required.
[2008]
Fee: Adults EUR 6, Locals EUR 3, Children (5-16) EUR 3, Children (0-4) not allowed.
[2008]
Classification:  Lava tube.
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=17,032m, VR=560m.
Guided tours: L=180m, D=2h.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography: (1997): La Cueva del Viento, Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente
Address: Cueva del Viento Visitor Centre, Icod De Los Vinos (Tenerife), Tel: +34-922-815339. E-mail: contact
Alfredo Lainez Concepción, Chimisay Bl. 27, 1°-D, Icod De Los Vinos (Tenerife), Cell: +34-619715379. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2014/07/21 08:08:44 $

History

 
1776first written account by the brothers Bethencourt de Castro in their description of Cueva de San Marcos.
1891survey by British visitors.
APR-1969first modern exploration by the Sección de Exploraciones Vulcanoespeleológicas de La Guancha.
1974results of the exploration with cave map published.
1990seffort by the village Icod De Los Vinos to develop the cave.
1994cave declared a natural monument and development stopped.
2004development of the cave.
17-JUN-2008reopening.

Description

Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Wind) is an extraordinary lava tube, one of several on the Canarian Islands. With a length of 17km it is one of the longest lava tubes on Earth, although it is not the longest any more (as told in old guidebooks). At the moment [2008] the cave is on position five on the list of the worlds longest lava tubes, and it is the longest lava tube outside Hawai'i. Exploration is ongoing, the Grupo de Espeleología de Tenerife Benisahare has now mapped more than 18 kilometers and tries to find a connection to nearby Cueva Felipe Reventón, which would increase the length to some 21 kilometers. The tube formed on the northern flank of Pico Viejo, next to Mt. Teide.

The cave entrance is known for centuries, even the area around it is namend Cueva del Viento in old maps. There are old descriptions where the cave was mentioned and an early attempt by British visitors to map the cave in 1891. But the first serious exploration was made by the Sección de Exploraciones Vulcanoespeleológicas de La Guancha. They first entered the cave in April 1969, after litle more than a year 6,000m of cave were explored and mapped. This meant that this cave was the longest lava tube on earth, as it beat the former first,  Cueva de Los Verdes on nearby Lanzarote. This label sticked for decades, although by now ten times as long caves have been explored on Hawai'i. In 1986 the new discoveries downgraded it to place three, although its total length had increased to 9,902m by new discoveries.

The cave has seven enrances, and a rather high difference between upper and lower entrances. As a result air is flowing through the cave forming convection cells. In winter the cave is warmer than outside and the warm air leaves at the upper entrances, in summer the cold air flows out of the lower entrances. Thats the simple reason why the cave is called Cueva del Viento or Cave of the Wind.

The cave runs underneath the village Icod De Los Vinos, which is famous for the huge Drago (Dragon Tree), an endemic Canarian tree. It is also famous for its vine, which explains the name of the village. The cave is listed in various guide books for decades, but most of the time it was not open for the public. It seems after the exploration efforts in the early 1970s, the cave was also developed in a rather simple way and opened to the public. However, it was not open for very long, probably because of a change in ownership. The area of the developed cave entrance is owned by one of the vineyard owners, and it seems during the 1980s and 1990s he was not interested in re-opening the cave to the public.

There are various entrances - which are used by cavers - but they are not developed. Local tourist bureaus tried to reopen the cave as an important tourist sight, but for long all initiatives failed. One problem for the development was the owner of the original entrance, another problem is the rich and fragile ecosystem inside the cave. During a research 190 different species were documented in the cave, among them 48 true troglobionts, most of them endemic to this cave. As a result the cavers and conservationists wanted to keep it protected and closed.

Finally a cooperation between the involved institutions (government, nature protection) worked hard for the reopening of the cave. A different part of the cave, which is 180m long, was newly developed. The entrance El Sobrado was completed in autumn 2004 and € 717.000 have been invested for 14 months of work cleaning the main passage, removing 5,000 tons of debris, constructing paths, and electric light. But the opening scheduled for 2005 was delayed again until the cave was finally opened in 2008. The result is a compromise between the protection of the cave and its inhabitants, and the touristic importance of the place.

The cave visitors meet at the Visitor Centre above Icod de los Vinos. From here a small coach brings up to 15 visitors to the cave entrance. The Visitor Centre is also museum and gives an introduction into the geology and biology of the cave. The visitors are equipped with helmets here, good shoes and long trousers are recommended. The cave is not suitable for very young children and people with claustrophobia or difficulties to walk on uneven ground.


See also


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